13% Increase in Individuals Using Ottawa Emergency Shelters in 2008

The Ottawa Alliance to End Homelessness released it’s report for 2008.  The report showed a 13% increase in 2008 compared to 2007, of the number of individuals and families using local Ottawa emergency shelters for increasingly longer periods.



Unrest in the Workplace

Recent reports in the news are highlighting increasing aggression and unrest in the workplace.

There have also been reports of incidents against executives at firms with layoffs – ranging from physical assault to murder.  In France there have been two cases of hostage taking of managers by employees – at Sony and 3M.

Recession Proof Businesses – US Gun Shops

According to Reuters, in the first two months of 2009, around 2.5 million Americans bought guns, a 26 percent increase over the same period in 2008. Gun dealers report this rise in sales to be a consequence of fear of social unrest as the ailing economy pushes the newly destitute deeper into misery.

The Orlando Sentinel’s also reports that gun dealers are experiencing shortages of bullets

Some say it began with the election of President Barack Obama. Others say it’s about the economic downturn or fear of crime. Whatever the reasons, ammunition has been selling like plywood and bottled water in the days before a hurricane.

Eleanor Duckwall’s blog on the nationwide ammunition shortage that has hit the U.S.  provides a comprehensive review of the various possible reasons for the ammunition shortage, which may include:

  • An increase in the size and number of paramilitary police units
  • An increase in the use of “patrol carbines” in law enforcement
  • Fears of draconian gun and ammunitions restrictions
  • Economic instability

Related articles:

Sharp Decline in US Imports and Exports Reported in January

Sharp declines in US trade was reported in January 2009.  The following chart from http://www.calculatedriskblog.com highlights the sharp downward trend (red is imports and blue is exports) –


Here is a chart showing inbound and outbound container traffic to the port of Los Angeles – it mirrors the decline –


High Tech Worker Study Shows Optimistic Disposition Helps Reduce Stress Levels

In 2002, Carleton University ran a survey to look at stress among tech workers – “Coping with Job Uncertainty : A Survey of Employed and Unemployed High Technology Workers”.   The report identified numerous interesting results, however the one that I found particularly noteworthy was the fact they found that people who have an optimistic predisposition have a natural buffer against stress.    In fact, the more optimistic one’s nature, the less stress they reported.

The full report is available here.

Universities Benefit from Recession?

In the UK, University applications are up 8%, with some Universities are up significantly higher:

Applications to Oxford and Cambridge rose 9.9%. The University of Exeter said it had an 18% increase in applications from British students and 88% rise in those outside the EU. New universities and smaller specialist institutions also reported record rises. Bedfordshire University had a 24% rise in home applications.

Enrollment/application numbers for Universities in the US and Canada for late 2008/early 2009 are hard to find, however here is what has been published so far:

In Canada, there is concern that recession impacts on post-secondary institutions may include decreasing endowment funds, reduced/weakened fund raising, halted or delayed development projects and less government funding.

In US, Universities share similar concerns as in Canada.   In the US there is particular concern regarding  decreasing endowment funds which are due mainly to the stock market decline:

… the average college endowment lost 2.7 percent in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2008, according to Commonfund, an organization that manages many colleges’ endowments. A follow-up survey found endowments lost another 22.5 percent in the five months that ended Dec. 1, 2008.

In the US and Canada, Universities are likely to be beneficiaries of the various stimulus packages, which should off-set some of the concerns that are currently being expressed.